About the PMC


The Layout

The PMC paper has 25 questions. 20 of these are multiple choice. The questions are graded; starting with easy ones and graduating to harder questions. The final five require an answer where no choices are given.

Pupils get...

  • 45 minutes to answer the questions
  • the chance to take part in a national challenge
  • 10 easy questions to start with
  • certificates presented by the school
  • high-scoring pupils will be invited to take part in the PMC Bonus Round

Teachers get...

The Primary Mathematics Challenge papers come in packs of ten, so there is enough for ten pupils. With each pack of ten papers, you will receive:

  • 1 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze certificates
  • 1 'Took the Challenge' certificate (available electronically)
  • mark scheme/answers and notes (available electronically)

The online paper and the PDF download is sold in tens too. Teachers get access for their pupils to the Challenge. The paper is marked automatically, and teachers can then access pupils answers. 

Also provided are full instructions, solutions and follow-up ideas for the classroom, feedback sheet, and an opportunity to raise the profile of mathematics in your school.

For the November paper the teachers decide how the certificates be awarded. Decisions are therefore an 'in-school' task. The spirit of the PMC is that in each school there will be a number of gold, silver and bronze pupils who deserve certificates.

We know every school has pupils of varying ability, so we do not want to limit the achievements of any pupils taking part.

One gold, two silver and three bronze certificates are provided in each pack and a 'Took the Challenge' certificate is available to download.

Here is what some of our participants have to say...

"As always, the PMC was greeted with a buzz of excitement by the children and provides the staff with ideas for extension activities to use with our ablest students over the next weeks and months. Thank you!"

"Everything was perfect! I have no suggestions or improvements as this competition is very well organised, everything arrived on time and we just love it!"

"Amazing experience again, the children all enjoyed the opportunity to stretch their brain and think in different ways."

"Great to have yellow paper for our dyslexic children."

"I always like the format and question types: the challenges really make pupils think. I thought this year was particularly difficult especially compared with the previous two years. I expected more children in my school to gain higher scores."

The Bonus Round 

The next Bonus Round will take place in February 2025

The Bonus Round is an invite-only opportunity for those pupils who did well in the first round, to extend and challenge their maths skills.

The Paper is set out in a similar format to the November challenge paper with 25 questions and 45 minutes to do them.

  • Pupils can take part in the Bonus Round Challenge either online or by a PDF.
  • We will no longer ask schools to submit names of pupils for the Bonus Round.
  • We ask schools to submit scores using the form provided, this helps us to gauge the paper difficulty and make sure it is set at the right level for your pupils.
  • The boundary to take part in the Bonus Round will be set in November and communicated to schools after the November Challenge has taken place.
  • Those schools who have qualifying pupils will be sent the Bonus Round paper in January.
  • All bonus round participants receive a certificate for taking part. School can request a gold, silver or bronze lapel badges for pupils who gain these scores.

We hope these changes will ensure a speedier turn around for you and your pupils.

Using the PMC resources

There are many things which can be done throughout the year and the PMC papers and resources can help you with these.

PMC questions are a good basis for discussion and can be ‘unpicked’ when the subjects come up in future lessons. The methods used to answer certain questions can be discussed and children can compare their strategies. The PMC answers and notes provide some excellent ideas for discussion and investigation.

We also receive comments that the PMC paper is a good basis for use in the preparations for the 11 plus exam and the Numerical Reasoning test in Wales.